Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639, 10 (2002)

Page:   Index   Previous  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  Next



Opinion of the Court

per student enrolled at a traditional public school. As of 1999, parents in Cleveland were able to choose from among 23 magnet schools, which together enrolled more than 13,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. These schools provide specialized teaching methods, such as Montessori, or a particularized curriculum focus, such as foreign language, computers, or the arts.

In 1996, respondents, a group of Ohio taxpayers, challenged the Ohio program in state court on state and federal grounds. The Ohio Supreme Court rejected respondents' federal claims, but held that the enactment of the program violated certain procedural requirements of the Ohio Constitution. Simmons-Harris v. Goff, 86 Ohio St. 3d 1, 8-9, 711 N. E. 2d 203, 211 (1999). The state legislature immediately cured this defect, leaving the basic provisions discussed above intact.

In July 1999, respondents filed this action in United States District Court, seeking to enjoin the reenacted program on the ground that it violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. In August 1999, the District Court issued a preliminary injunction barring further implementation of the program, 54 F. Supp. 2d 725 (ND Ohio), which we stayed pending review by the Court of Appeals, 528 U. S. 983 (1999). In December 1999, the District Court granted summary judgment for respondents. 72 F. Supp. 2d 834. In December 2000, a divided panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the District Court, finding that the program had the "primary effect" of advancing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause. 234 F. 3d 945 (CA6). The Court of Appeals stayed its mandate pending disposition in this Court. App. to Pet. for Cert. in No. 00-1779, p. 151. We granted certiorari, 533 U. S. 976 (2001), and now reverse the Court of Appeals.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, prevents a State from enacting laws that have the "purpose"

Page:   Index   Previous  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007